Following the conclusion of the NBA regular season on April 9, the NBA began gearing up for the start of the playoffs on April 15.
This season was filled with many surprises and disappointments in both individual players and teams.
“The Sacramento Kings were the most surprising team, finishing as the three seed in the West and making the playoffs for the first time since 2006,” said junior Casey Russell. “As far as players, Lauri Markkanen on the Utah Jazz was a huge shock, averaging 25 points a game where just last year he only averaged just 14 a game.”
Another team that many Sacred Heart students anticipate will have success is the New York Knicks. The Knicks finished the regular season fifth in their conference and made the playoffs for just the second time over the last ten seasons. They were led by offseason acquisition Jalen Brunsen.
“He’s always played well when he filled in, started — and just having been around him, what he did at Villanova,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau told NBA.com. “Big games. He’s always played his best in big games. We all knew that. That’s just who he is.”
One team that disappointed many fans were the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets had many great players on their team, but still struggled. They traded away star Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline because of these struggles.
The Dallas Mavericks also missed the playoffs even with the acquisition of Irving from the Nets.
“A few teams that disappointed in the regular season were the Dallas Mavericks, who missed the playoffs even with top players in Luka Doncic and after trading for Kyrie Irving,” said Russell.
In between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, the NBA held the play-in tournament from April 11-14. The teams that finished between seventh and tenth in both conferences play a mini-tournament to determine which teams will be seeded as the seven and eight seed in the playoffs.
The Atlanta Hawks advanced to the playoffs as the seven seed and the Miami Heat eight seed in the Eastern Conference. In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers advanced as the seven seed and the Minnesota Timberwolves became the eighth seed.
With the playoffs having already started, it will be interesting to see which team can bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the 2022-23 season.
Thomas Marrone Mussio contributed to this article.